The following is an excerpt from my Kilimanjaro travel journal, written June 5, 2010
One of my favorite things about traveling during the past few years has been the people I’ve met along the way, and today — my first full day in Tanzania — was no exception.
At breakfast, I met Jonathan and Zephan, two guys from Washington, D.C., who will be climbing the mountain with me. Then, right after breakfast, I met a group of students from Purdue who have spent the past month helping in schools and orphanages. They’ve been living at the hotel during their stay, and this is their final full day in Arusha before heading home. Thomas, Evan, Corrine, Carrie, Heather and Kelsey and their teacher, Jill, adopted us for the day and took us into Arusha.
We went on a dalla dalla ride, visited a Masaai Market, to lunch at a cheap but delicious local place called Milk and Honey, to dinner at a restaurant up the street from the hotel and then back to The Outpost for drinks. They were an incredibly fun group and a real treat to hang out with on my first day here.
In particular, they helped me save my sanity in the Masaai Market despite the constant harassment to buy bracelets, oil paintings, tiny carved animal statues and all sorts of other trinkets. I wish they would still be here when we conclude our climb because they would be a lot of fun to celebrate with.
It’s been a heck of a first day. Morning will be here soon, and the climb will begin. Much like today, we will have guides — these ones being professionals rather than college students — and the adventure will surely become more challenging.